PRESS RELEASE - December 03, 2003

Molecular Engines Laboratories (MEL) Announces the Publication of a Comprehensive Study on the Mechanism of Action of TCTP, a Key Protein involved in Tumor Reversion.

The Management at Molecular Engines Laboratories (MEL) announced today important discoveries in the understanding of the function of one of its key target molecules. In this weekís issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), Vol. 100, No. 24, pp. 13892-13897, the group is publishing new data on the biochemical functions of TCTP.

The paper "Translationally controlled tumor protein acts as a guanine nucleotide dissociation inhibitor on the translation elongation factor eEF1A" is an exhaustive scientific work which sheds light on the functional role of TCTP, a protein actively involved in tumor reversion/suppression. The study, which demonstrates that TCTP interacts with eEF1A and eEF1Bb, 2 proteins involved in the elongation phase of translation, suggests that TCTP might play an important decision making role in protein synthesis.

As conveyed by the paperís first 2 authors, Christophe Cans and Brent Passer, "We are now starting to have a much better understanding of the mechanism of action of TCTP in the cell".

In the words of MELís Research Directors and Founders, Adam Telerman and Robert Amson, "These new data provide us with new guidelines for better synthesis of drugs against cancer".

Pierre Attali, the companyís CEO, voiced his enthusiasm about the results of MELís drug discoveries team, and emphasized that the new results, together with previous discoveries about TCTP, opened up new horizons.

In previous studies led by MELís scientific teams (PNAS, November 12, 2002, vol. 99, no. 23, publication), TCTP was found to be up-regulated at the protein level in cancer cells, and strongly down-regulated during the process of tumor reversion/suppression. Scientists at MEL demonstrated that inhibition of TCTP expression suppresses the malignant phenotype in leukemia and breast cancer cells. Moreover, decreased levels of TCTP expression was shown to either promote apoptosis (programmed cell death) or induce the reorganization of breast cancer cells into pseudo-normal morphologies, similar to the ones found in normal cells. The leading role of TCTP in the suppression of tumorigenicity was further confirmed in vivo.

Molecular Engines Laboratories (MEL) is a private biopharmaceutical company dedicated to oncology, which is involved in the development of innovative drugs against cancer.
With its innovative approach to cancer therapy, "Tumor Reversion", which was developed in the 1990's by the company's founders and Scientific Directors, Drs. Adam Telerman and Robert Amson, the company has successfully generated and validated 5 tumour reversion cell models for both leukaemia and breast cancer and discovered over 250 genes involved in the tumour reversion pathway.
MEL believes that these genes and associated proteins provide a large number of targets for therapeutic and diagnostic applications, and is currently working on the synthesis and optimization of compounds against a number of targets.